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Last Updated : Jul 21, 2019 01:06 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Private hospitals need to temper expectations, govt may not review Ayushman Bharat package rates

Earlier this week, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said there is no proposal to review the prices of packages being offered under Ayushman Bharat

Viswanath Pilla @viswanath_pilla
Representative image
Representative image

Private hospitals that are expecting revision of package rates offered under Ayushmaan Bharat may have to temper their expectations going by the statement by Health Minister and other top officials of National Health Authority (NHA).

Earlier this week, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said there is no proposal to review the prices of packages being offered under Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY).

"One of the underlying principles were that the full capacity of private hospitals was not being utilized and PMJAY is to provide additional volumes to them without additional investments in infrastructure and manpower etc.," Harsh Vardhan said in the Lok Sabha. The health minister was responding to a question raised by Congress Member of Parliament (MP) from Telangana Komati Reddy Venkat Reddy, on whether there will be any review of package rates under Ayushman Bharat.

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"Further, constant changes in package rates can lead to volatility in rates and may have unintended and undesirable consequences for the entire health sector," Harsh Vardhan added.

The Centre has now left it to the states to increase or decrease the packages by 10 percent.

This statement was not a surprise as top officials of NHA, the implementing agency of Ayushman Bharat, have been stating this position in recent times.

Ayushman Bharat, also dubbed ‘Modicare’ aims to provide Rs 5 lakh health coverage to 10 crore poor families, covering 40 percent of India's population.

Large private hospital chains have kept away from the scheme citing the proposed reimbursement package rates as unscientific, arbitrary and insufficient.

Over 70 percent of India’s healthcare is provided by private hospitals, making the participation of these hospitals critical to success of Ayushman Bharat.

The change of stand on package rates goes against the assurances given by the government to private hospital lobbies ahead of the elections.

Government officials had earlier indicated about commissioning a costing study to looking into some of the treatment package rates that were pointed out as too low and non-viable by private hospitals. There are around 1,350 treatment packages offered under Ayushman Bharat.

Now, hospitals may have to look for alternate low cost delivery models to participate in the Ayushman Bharat, otherwise they will have to sit out from the scheme.

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First Published on Jul 21, 2019 01:06 pm
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